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More land for mass market private homes released

The 21 residential sites will help meet demand and avert sharp price increases

PRIVATE home buyers look set to be spoilt for choice after the Government unveiled an expansive programme of land sales for the first half of next year.

The big winners will be mass market buyers, who include home buyers upgrading from HDB flats.

A total of 21 residential sites – mainly mass market ones – feature in the programme including new plots at Choa Chu Kang, Tampines and Sengkang.

Industry observers say the move could help soak up strong demand for these homes and avert potentially sharp mass market price rises.

Counting commercial and hotel sites, the programme comprises 37 sites, after the Government released its largest-ever land package of 41 sites six months ago for the current second half year.

There are three commercial sites, two ‘white’ multi-use sites, one commercial-cum-residential site and 10 hotel sites – yielding about 8,250 homes, 410,000 sq m gross floor area of commercial space, and 5,850 hotel rooms.

‘This supply will be sufficient to meet the demand for the various properties over the medium-term and support the continued growth of our economy,’ said the National Development Ministry in a statement yesterday.

Industry observers say the programme comes as sentiment in the local property market has weakened due to the United States sub-prime mortgage crisis, high oil prices and a possible US economic slowdown.

Developers have also recently said it is difficult to micro-manage the market, which has taken almost a decade to turn around. Owing to this uncertainty, some consultants worry the mass market home supply may be a tad too much for the market.

‘This package comes across as fairly aggressive in addressing supply shortages because we still have the subprime problems, which remain very uncertain,’ said Chesterton International’s head of research and consultancy Colin Tan. ‘If the US economy is affected, Singapore’s real estate sector will surely be hit in some way.’

The land sales programme includes 17 new sites for sale, up from 15 this half year.

There are 11 confirmed sites – those that will be put up for sale on scheduled dates. Eight of these are residential, mostly in suburban areas such as West Coast Crescent, Yishun and Sembawang.

CBRE research executive director Li Hiaw Ho said the release of several suburban plots suggests the Government is aware that prices in popular non-prime locations have risen substantially – pricing out potential HDB upgraders.

The latest programme has 26 reserve-list sites, including five new residential sites in areas such as Chestnut Avenue, as well as three executive condominium sites that were recently announced.

Reserve-list sites are put up for sale only when a developer commits to bid a minimum price.

This time round, there are fewer commercial sites, with just one white site – a coveted plot in the soon-torevamped Ophir/Rochor area – up for confirmed sale. Consultants said this bodes well for the market as supply will come onstream from 2009.

 

Source: The Straits Times 7 Dec 07

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